20 Jul 2011

Colonel Mara surprised at push for his arrest in New Zealand

3:41 pm on 20 July 2011

The former Fijian army colonel Tevita Mara says he is surprised at calls he should be arrested while he is visiting New Zealand.

Colonel Mara, who has been highly critical of the Fijian government since he fled earlier this year, has arrived in New Zealand and is due to meet foreign affairs officals.

The New Zealand-based Coalition for Democracy in Fiji wants Colonel Mara investigated by New Zealand Police for his alleged role in the torture of people at the Suva military barracks.

But Col Mara says he's surprised by this move by Mr Naidu given they've had a positive correspondence.

"I'll read you a quote from Nik as we were corresponding before I came to New Zealand and this is what he said. We would like to see all people and organisations with a positive interest in Fiji working together to find an acceptable solution for the future of Fiji. And I hope he still stands by those comments because I am certainly surprised by the action he's taken."

Colonel Mara says there is a definite split within Fiji's military, with just 50 people who still support the regime.